This month Aero Crew News went on location in Atlanta to photograph Southwest Airlines in action. Melody, our photo editor, and I met in Atlanta with Dan Mix, Atlanta Chief Pilot, John Cowart, Atlanta Assistant Chief Pilot, Derek Matthews, Robbie Robinson and Nolen Mannerly.
We started the morning with a tour of the Southwest Airlines maintenance hanger and Melody went to work moving people, ladders, cherry pickers and 737s for that perfect shot. After about two hours of shooting we ventured over to the terminal, with a short wait at TSA despite 25 college girls cutting the line, Melody was in and the photo shooting continued.
Dan escorted us to the Southwest crew lounge, which was just recently renovated to the tune of $14 million. The crew lounge is equipped with chairs, tables, massage chairs, big screen TVs, a popcorn machine, and a foosball table. There is also a quiet room with lazy boy chairs separated by curtains for pilots to rest between flights. We were able to grab a few shots of crewmembers between flights.
We were lucky enough to find a 737 that was doing a quick turn from FLL to TPA and Melody was able to pop on and take a few pictures of the pilots and the gate agent as he was boarding the TPA flight.
Lastly, Dan took us to the Southwest Operations Command Center for ATL, a dark room full of computers, screens and ops personal. Everyone had two seconds to say hello and then the room came alive with chatter as calls came in.
Everyone with whom we came in contact during our day visit was incredibly friendly, kind and happy. You can tell that Southwest Airlines is a place where the employees feel at home and truly enjoy working!
Craig D. Pieper
Publsiher, Aero Crew News
Craig Pieper is the Publisher and Founder of Aero Crew News. Craig is responsible for the content, layout design, website design and organization of the material and people producing the material for the magazine. He obtained his Bachelors of Science in Aeronautical Science, along with a minor in Aviation Weather, from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2001. Craig is also a Captain for a regional airline with a type rating in the Embraer 145 and has logged over 6,000 hours of flying time since his introductory flight on November 14th, 1992.
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